Bentley takes the top off its Continental Supersports, and adds a rear seat. Rinspeed makes an electric car/train hybrid. EnerDel tests plan to have utilities pay for part of electric car batteries. And we take a drive in one of the most luxurious hybrids available.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 156 SHOW NOTES
Five years ago, you knew what a luxury vehicle was.
It might have been a Mercedes-Benz S600 with a V-12 under the hood, or a Porsche Carrera S boasting 355 horsepower, or a massive, bling-dripping Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum.
Different as they were, those vehicles all displayed look-at-me styling, maximum horsepower, and a sense of self-reward. Fuel economy was an afterthought. The overall rating on the Escalade, for instance, was 13 mpg.
But a deflated economy and rising green consciousness are changing the definition of luxury. In the new era of inconspicuous consumption, rational factors play a greater role in purchasing decisions, brand executives say.
Luxury brands need new selling points to bring hesitant buyers into showrooms--and social correctness is a big factor. Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America, says sales of high-end luxury cars such as the Audi A8, BMW 7 series, and Mercedes-Benz S class have been hit especially hard.
For example, sales of the Lexus LS fell 44 percent in 2009. The Mercedes S class dropped 37 percent. BMW's 7 series and Audi's A8/S8 also posted big declines. "Those customers are the very people who are heading up corporations and small businesses, who are having to make tough decisions," de Nysschen says. "They might have the means, but it's just socially not the right time." … Read more
This video, posted on YouTube by WorldCarFans, features several BMWs from the BMW artcollection. The artists include Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Jenny Holzer.
Artists have been painting cars for the BMW collection since the 1970s. According to BMW Drives, the concept for the BMW art cars was introduced by a French auctioneer and race car driver named Hervé Poulain. Since then, 17 cars have been added to the collection.
There was a lot of automotive eye candy and information to take in at the recent 2010 North American International Auto Show at Cobo Arena in Detroit, and yesterday's highlight reel clip from Inside Line barely scratched the surface on covering all the exciting new automobiles potentially on the make both domestic and international. Today, I bring you another quality video from Inside Line, but this time we focus on BMW's stand from this year's Detroit auto show and a few of the more interesting cars that the German luxury vehicle manufacturer brought stateside for this big … Read more
We've seen them at auto shows and special events, the 12 hottest tech cars to debut in 2010. Each of these cars represents automakers' efforts to push the technology envelope, whether through cabin or power-train tech.
Don't expect to find another tired update of an economy model amongst this group. Some are radical attempts to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, others institute new technologies in the cabin, and a few we've selected are pinnacles of engineering.
These cars will become available to the public throughout the year, and it looks like a good year indeed.
Normally I don't do things this way in this blog, but I figured what the heck--let's change horses midstream and take a look at some of the vehicles presented at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. With that in mind, I present you with today's Web video blog post--a short but sweet look at some of the noteworthy cars presented for knowledge and viewing pleasure at this year's event in Detroit.
What we have here today is another brief but informative video produced by the good folks at Inside Line that gives viewers a snapshot … Read more
At every auto show, people ask about the coolest things we've seen. And we never have much of an answer because our brains are too spun by all the press conferences and new unveilings, not to mention blogging night and day. But now we've had a long weekend to process each attempt at a splash by the various automakers from the recent 2010 Detroit auto show, and we've settled on five stand-outs, things that we feel will have the strongest impact on car technology.
DETROIT--We've seen a growing number of electric cars at auto shows over the last few years, but the 2010 Detroit show has more electrics from major brands than ever before. It is true that most are concepts, but it points to the fact that automakers are preparing for the future.
Nissan and Mitsubishi both had production-ready cars on display, models slated to launch later this year. Tesla also had a significant display at the show, with its Model S sedan showing the company can produce practical electric car with space for family and friends. Audi showed a new version … Read more
DETROIT--With Europe clamping down on CO2 emissions and Americans wanting to pay less at the pump, it would seem that big, luxury sedans would lose popularity. But BMW offers a couple of choices to keep its flagship 7-series sedan in favor. The company showed two new versions at the 2010 Detroit auto show, one with reduced engine size and a mild hybrid.
The new 740i marks a return to when the 7-series was powered by a mere 6 cylinders, rather than the 8 and 12 of recent years. But this car is no slouch, as its engine is a similar … Read more
DETROIT--In search of what it calls a MegaCity vehicle, BMW launched a concept electric car at the 2010 Detroit auto show. The Concept ActiveE, an electric car built on the 1-series platform, will serve as the basis for a test fleet of electric cars that will further BMW's research toward its ultimate goal.
Currently, BMW is running a test fleet of 600 electric Minis, the MiniE, with vehicles in the hands of private users. The Concept ActiveE is the next car BMW intends to test, planning an even larger fleet.
Starting with the 1-series chassis and body, BMW fitted … Read more